Letter to Rt Hon David Cameron - Prime Minister
The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
CC: The Rt Hon Phillip Hammond – Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
4th August 2014
I am writing to you with serious concern for the UK Government’s position on the ongoing conflict in Israel and Palestine.
As I am sure you are aware, the UN’s latest announcement that the disproportionate response from Israel could be considered as surmount to war crimes is particularly alarming. Let me be clear, I strongly condemn the violence on both sides of the conflict, and I am in full support of a ceasefire with the aim of securing a just and sustainable peace in the region, based on a two state solution.
However, the response from the Israeli military has been hugely disproportionate, and only serves to further hostilities, contravening the basic human rights of Palestinians under occupation.
The recent strike on Palestine’s power plant, by Israeli authorities, which cut off electricity and running water to Gaza’s 1.8 million residents and numerous hospitals has catastrophic humanitarian implications. This appears to be a deliberate targeting of infrastructure, which contravenes international law.
I am equally shocked to hear reports of targeted attacks on UN schools and refugee camps by Israeli authorities. An initial assessment by UNRWA indicates Jabaliya elementary school in Gaza was hit by Israeli artillery despite the fact that UNRWA shared its coordinates with the Israeli authorities 17 times.
I am deeply disappointed at the international community’s ongoing failure to hold Israel to account and the UK Government’s failure to condemn Israel’s actions, acknowledging that these actions are disproportionate. Furthermore, recent evidence from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) suggests that the UK Government has been continuing to supply Israel with arms, despite their illegitimate use.
According to research by CAAT, arms exports licenses worth £42m have been granted to 130 British defence manufacturers since 2010 to sell military equipment to Israel, including to two UK companies supplying components for the Hermes drone, widely used during the ongoing military offensive in Gaza, one of which also supplies components for Israel's main battle tank.
I see no alternative but for the UK Government to end military co-operation with Israel by immediately enforcing a military arms embargo, definitively ending all arms sales to and from Israel.
It is my understanding that the Foreign Secretary recently said:
"The Russians... have been supplying [pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels], they have been supporting them, they have been providing them with succour. They cannot deny their responsibility for the acts that these people are carrying out."
I believe that the UK should be applying the same logic to the conflict in Israel and Palestine, and I, therefore, urge you to act immediately. The UK Government cannot continue to enable Israel’s actions and facilitate the further loss of life in this conflict.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.
Caroline Lucas, MP, Brighton Pavilion
I have previously written to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs calling for a military arms embargo. Please click here to see my letter and the response from the Minister.
For more information about why I believe the UK should not be providing Israel with arms, please click here.